Knitting Factory stepping up schedule for day and night |

Knitting Factory stepping up schedule for day and night

John Seelmeyer

Dean Hanson took two days off in six weeks and this is the slow season for Knitting Factory Entertainment.

Hanson, general manager for the Knitting Factory Concert House that opened in downtown Reno on New Year’s Eve, figures the venue will host a total of about 30 shows during its first two months in business.

But once the winter weather clears and touring music groups get back on the road, the 20,000-square-foot venue is projected to host 20 to 25 events a month.

And that’s just nighttime events.

Hanson is beating the bushes these days, talking with business groups and nonprofit organizations about morning and afternoon events that could take advantage of the Knitting Factory facility and its full kitchen.

As a busy entertainment venue, Knitting Factory doesn’t see itself as a competitor to the shows in the region’s casinos.

“We’re not a threat to them. We’re going to grow the market,” says Hanson. “There’s a gaping hole in the market. We jumped into that hole. The casinos are looking for a different model than we are.”

Knitting Factory’s model is a little of everything, with an emphasis on moderate pricing.

On three consecutive nights this week, for example, the venue will host country star Travis Tritt, gospel’s Blind Boys of Alabama and alternative rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Ticket prices typically run somewhere in the $25 to $30 range, and almost all of the shows in the 1,268-capacity venue are open to all ages.

Now, Hanson says, the Knitting Factory management is learning about Reno’s tastes.

Knitting Factory operates venues in Boise and Spokane in addition to its big-city concert halls at Hollywood and its home in Brooklyn.

Some of the acts coming through Reno, Hanson says, will be booked for all three Knitting Factory locations in the Northwest but not all of them.

Within weeks of opening in Reno, for instance, the venue’s managers saw reflections of the influence of the trend-setting San Francisco and Los Angeles markets in Reno.

A show starring the French alternative rock bank Phoenix, for instance, was one of the first sellouts for Knitting Factory in Reno.

“That’s a great statement on how savvy the Reno market is,” Hanson says.

At the same time, the Knitting Factory managers have learned that they needn’t stress too much if advance ticket sales appear to be slow. Reno, far more than other markets in which the company does business, appears to be dominated by walk-up ticket buyers.

The management team is getting lots of guidance about the vagaries of the northern Nevada market from the 75 full- and part-time employees of the Knitting Factory. Except for the five key managers of the venue, all the workers were hired locally.

The company invested about $1 million into renovation of the venue at 211 N. Virginia St.